(CBS) — A routine evening shower ended with an emergency room visit for a nine-year-old boy. His glass shower door just suddenly shattered, like hundreds, possibly thousands of others that have shattered without warning.
The problem has been known for years, but it’s not getting fixed. CBS 2 Investigator Dave Savini found something people can do, to make their own shower glass door safer.
Nine-year-old Oliver Kwilinski was hit by sharp glass while showering before bed last month.
“It happened so fast, I didn’t understand it,” said Oliver Kwilinski. “It just exploded. It just shattered like a bomb. I was shaking. It was really scary.”
He says the glass shower door spontaneously shattered sending glass flying across the bathroom, lacerating his arm and cutting his leg. His mother, Amy Kwilinski, heard the noise and ran to him.
“I just picked him straight up,” said Amy Kwilinski. “The arm wounds were bleeding more so I applied pressure.”
The door in this case was made of tempered glass, safety glass, that if broken is supposed to shatter into tiny pieces to avoid injuries. But some of the pieces in the Kwilinski case were large, jagged and extremely sharp.
Similar injuries are happening nationwide, which frustrates glass expert Mark Meshulam.
“Simply tempering glass doesn’t always make it safe,” said Meshulam. “Because it doesn’t always shatter into tiny pieces.”
Meshulam demonstrated the distance shattered tempered glass flies and how big and jagged the pieces can be. He also agreed to examine the Kwilinski’s remaining shower door for CBS 2. He said he was not impressed with the quality of glass or metal components. However, he says the bigger problem is an industry problem.
“There are no industry standards,” said Meshulam.
And the number of reports of glass shower doors breaking has increased.
Three years ago, during a 12-month period, the 2-Investigators found six glass shower door complaints made to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). During the most recent 12 months, there were 58. Meshulam says the number of complaints filed with the CPSC is small compared to the number of glass doors that actually break.
One solution, says Meshulam, is adding a protective film to keep breaking glass in place, instead of it flying and being a potential danger. Meshulam warns applying the protective film should be done by a professional and the film needs to extend underneath any metal hardware.
“I think parents with small kids should consider this an option,” said Meshulam.
A safety option that could have helped kids like Oliver.
“I don’t want that to happen to other people,” said Oliver Kwilinski.
The CPSC is considering changing how tempered glass is tested to ensure a safer product.